Twentynine Palms Historical Society
29 Palms, California



"THE RIBBON OF BLACK"
by
Claude A. Conlin Jr.

Dedicated to Les Spell of Twentynine Palms, one of the last
of the truly great old time desert prospectors and miners.

There's a ribbon of black, that winds past my shack,
   I guess that I'll soon have to go.
the trackless white sand, of my dear desert land,
   Is nothing like I used to know.

A long asphalt track, like a ribbon of black,
   Bears a stream of big trucks and light cars.
Headlights gleam and glare, in the balmy air,
   And dims the soft light from my stars.

Their dull constant roar, as they pass my door,
   Is more than a sane man can stand.
Their tootin and beeping, sure keeps me from sleeping,
   I wish they'd keep out of my land.

My desert mirage, is now a garage,
   A pumpin out gas and cheap oil.
And I must confess, the litter and mess,
   Just makes my old Irish blood boil.

Oh, I've had my taste, of the broad desert waste,
   Which I've trudged and enjoyed endless hours.
But it's out of my hands, as city bred bands,
   Of tourists come picking my flowers.

Sometimes they will stop, and they say, "Hi Ya, Pop",
   But most of their gab is so bleak.
They stare rudely at me, as if they could see,
   That I was some sort of antique.

Grown-ups are atrocious, their kids precocious,
   They litter my land with their trash.
Beer cans and old tires, and smoldering fires,
   Believe me their actions are rash.

They think it is fun, with pistol and gun,
   To blast everything just for thrills.
That's why me and my burro, will plough a straight furrow,
   To a camp further back in the hills.

I've often avowed, that this riotous crowd,
   Would be cut off from shootin and plunder.
If the ribbon of black, that keeps bringing them back,
   Could be ripped up and torn asunder.

But it's here to stay, so I must go way,
   You can bet that I'll seldom be seen.
I'm leaving my shack, by the ribbon of black,
   For vandals and rats to pick clean.

For my desert land, give me foot trails of sand,
   Maybe its progress I lack,
   But one thing is certain, I've pulled down the curtain,
   On that miserable ribbon of black.

 


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